TV View: Ireland wanted a series win not necessarily a whitewash

The Wallabies played with all the belligerence of a Michael Cheika team roasting

Tolu Latu celebrates after Australia win a crucial scrum penalty at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Photograph: PA

Tolu Latu celebrates after Australia win a crucial scrum penalty at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. Photograph: PA

 

On 12 minutes Joey Carbery was dusting himself down after slowly picking his body off the pitch. He had earlier been lit up by a tackle from left wing Marika Koroibete.

Kurtley Beale’s head was bandaged after dripping blood. Conor Murray just had his neck checked out by the Irish medics and Keith Earls would soon be flattened and leave for a HIA. The Wallabies were calling out Ireland. Welcome to Australia.

When you find yourself watching Sky Sorts at 10.30am on a Saturday morning in June it must be tour rugby and on Saturday the Wallabies were playing with all the belligerence of a Michael Cheika team roasting.

Many people’s favourites for this early television session is a full Irish in the local pub. But Mark Robson’s Belfast accented commentary worked better than a four shot cappuccino.

He did, however, spare us a serving of his famously shocking puns. What? Well, CJ being “outstandering” for example. Small mercies.

Joe Schmidt called it early doors when he was briefly interviewed before the match.

“It would not surprise me if Beale and Kerevi came down young Joey’s channel from time to time,” said the Irish coach old Joey.

Ten minutes later the table, chairs and kitchen sink were being thrown at young Joey, the 21-year-old in just his third Test start.

The match was broken into a few areas with notable personalities. There was the Carbery experiment at outhalf, which lasted 56 minutes until Sexton came on to the sound of a cavalry bugle and the twin backrow threats of Australia’s Batman and Robin team Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

Record Australian points scorer Michael Lynagh was in studio with former Irish number eight Jamie Heaslip, who showed his transition from the backrow to in front of the cameras has been seamless.

Heaslip’s analysis is strong and his freshness to the way Schmidt plays the game informative and insightful. He still knows the play book.

“I don’t know if they’d say it,” said Heaslip who as a player was very particular about what he said or didn’t day. “But I’d say they want a series win not necessarily a whitewash but a series win.”

That may come true.

Heaslip added with some mischief. “It would have been an interesting conversation with Johnny to tell him he is not starting.”

It was Pocock’s try that broke Irish spirits 10 minutes from the end of a tight - did we already say aggressive? - match. Is there anything wrong with that guy.

He calls out his own team mate Israel Folau for his objectionable remark that homosexuals were destined for “hell” if they did not “repent” and then scores the winner.

Interestingly the “hell” remark didn’t stop a smiling Pocock from patting Folau’s head after Beale took out three Irish players to put Folau through for a try that was then disallowed for an earlier infringement.

A good natured game in a hard way, Robson informed us that Ireland have now lost their last 10 matches on Australian soil. But the underlying suggestion was despite coming in as favourites, this is not Ireland’s strongest starting team and will be better next week. So, are we back to old ways. Should we not be calling for heads to roll. Are we satisfied to be respectfully beaten.

“Australia won it because they showed a huge amount of aggression,” said Alan Quinlan afterwards. “Poor execution from Ireland. They had a lot of opportunities and possession.”

The 18-9 beating brought Ireland’s winning streak to an end. And for some that is very cold comfort indeed. Irish lock James Ryan, who had never lost a match with Ireland or Leinster, can now rest easy about incessantly being asked to talk about the golden start to his career. That chapter is now closed. The winning sheen is now gone from Ireland. It will be a tough two weeks.

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